An associate professor of math at Morgan State University is being investigated by the historically Black university after he asked Jeffrey Epstein, the late sex offender and financier, for $5 million to endow a chair for women in mathematics at the university, The Baltimore Sun reported.
Jonathan Farley, the professor, reached out to Epstein in prison via email after Epstein’s arrest for federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges in July 2019. The email was uncovered by VICE.com and implied that Epstein would shore up his image in Black communities by donating the money.
“Our accepting your $5 million will show the world you are not a pariah and may help you avoid a conviction like Bill Cosby,” Farley wrote to Epstein. Epstein died by suicide later that summer.
A statement from a Morgan State spokesperson emphasized that Farley acted of his own accord and the matter was being investigated.
“At no time has Morgan State University sought out and/or solicited Jeffrey Epstein for contributions or donations of any kind,” the statement read. “Nor has the University empowered any of its employees or agents of the University to solicit contributions or donations from Jeffrey Epstein on its behalf. Morgan State University is opposed to receiving support of any kind from any individual or entity not aligned with the University’s values.”
Farley told the Sun in an email that he was not representing the university when he made the request, and it’s unclear if Epstein ever got the message, the newspaper reported.
“There is a time-honored Christian tradition of giving people second chances: robber barons like Carnegie and J. P. Morgan tried to burnish their images through their philanthropy,” Farley wrote. “Harvard University received and kept $6 million from Epstein, so it would be strange to say that Harvard can keep $6 million, but it is bad for anyone else to even think of asking for a donation.”